World's biggest monopoly game crashes online

Monopoly contestants battled in May in London to be crowned Monopoly UK champion.

On the launch day of a new online Monopoly game, its servers crashed– and, oh, the parallels are delicious.

The game forged in the depths of the Great Depression has come back in new form in the second year of the "great recession." Once again, it has proved popular – so popular that the influx of 21st century gamers choked the system.

"We ANTICIPATED an opening rush when we launched the Monopoly City Streets online game, but the first few hours have surpassed even our greatest EXPECTATIONS," read a Wednesday blog post by the game's creators.

What is it about Monopoly – one of the world's most popular board games – that's so alluring?

For an hour or two, players get to exercise raw economic power. They can buy properties they could never afford in real life. They can impoverish other people the way 19th century robber barons did. And there are few limits.

Antitrust laws? Pshaw. Income taxes? Only if you make the wrong move.

It's especially fun to make fake money when one's own real assets are dwindling faster than a stopover at someone else's Park Place hotel.

The new online version comes with its own twists. For one thing, you buy any big street in the world that's available from Google Maps. For another, you start with $3 million.

Millions of people can compete to be top dog in the online game, which will last through January 2010.

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